Burgess closer to Rabbitohs return

Bath appear to have opened the way for Sam Burgess to make a return to the NRL after the dual international was granted leave from his English rugby union club to consider his footballing future.

The former South Sydney star is expected to make a decision in the coming days over where he will play amid increasing speculation he will return to rugby league after just one season away.

The BBC reported on Thursday that Burgess, 26, was given time off by Bath.

Cashed-up Super League outfit Leeds has been linked to the 2014 Clive Churchill medallist. But a return to Redfern appears to be his favoured option.

Burgess, who was still on leave from the Rugby World Cup, opted to watch brother Tom in England’s rugby league international against France on Saturday while Bath were also in action.

England coach Steve McNamara, who sat next to Burgess during the match, is convinced the 26-year-old will return to rugby league.

“The reason I am confident of him coming back is all his family’s in Australia, he’s getting married to a girl who’s Australian, he’s got business interests in Australia,” McNamara said.

“For me, it’s just common sense that at some point he’ll come back, but when that is, he’ll determine that.”

McNamara admitted he would not hesitate to bring Burgess back into the England fold if he returned to the 13-man code.

“If he came back to rugby league, absolutely,” he said.

“If he was back involved in our sport, we’d try and find a spot for him.”

Burgess left the NRL at the end of the 2014 season after playing a leading role in the Rabbitohs’ drought-breaking premiership win to pursue a career in rugby union.

But he endured a disappointing Rugby World Cup campaign as England failed to progress past the pool stage.

Last week twins Tom and George Burgess committed to the Rabbitohs until the end of the 2018 season, propelling suggestions Sam could return to the club to play alongside them again.

The Rabbitohs have the first and last right of offer if Burgess wishes to return to the game in Australia, and the NRL confirmed on Wednesday any transfer fee paid to Bath by Souths would not be included in their salary cap.

Souths declined to comment on Sam Burgess’ possible recruitment when contacted.

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